This weekend the WBCA brought notable guests from Mexico, Texas, and even from D.C. One of the most notable guests was Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson who was part of several events. His visit was not just to be a spectator of border culture, but to address on-going issues like strengthening commerce and border security.
Giving the keynote speech at this year's WBCA Abrazo Ceremony is DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. As children from both sides of the US/Mexico border embraced in a symbolic act of friendship and solidarity. He spoke about the bridge that brings them together. "What is a bridge? Que es un puente? It is a structure to connect two lands," pondered Johnson.
Johnson spoke about the recent collaboration with Mexico's president to expand the lanes of an international bridge in western Texas. It's all done with the goal of enhancing commerce between both countries. This is also the purpose for the presentation of the Cargo Pre-inspection Pilot Program Johnson witnessed at the airport. Here, cargo like these car parts are pre-inspected in Mexico to facilitate trade by reducing wait times and paperwork. Johnson said, "We look forward to seeing these pilots tested and be a success so we can expand beyond this, so we can make these permanent and we can build more."
Johnson is hoping these changes proposed by this pilot program stick but there are other changes that haven't fared well with some border patrol agents -- particularly those to Operation Phalanx. We asked: It wasn't well received by Border Patrol agents who really count on that air support. Is there any chance that DHS might reconsider? "I believe in air support and I believe in our ground operation. In our budget requests we have to live within budget caps," replied Johnson.
Though some may disapprove of decisions Johnson has made, some have speculated he could be in a position where his decisions would have more weight. When asked whether he would consider a nomination to the Supreme Court, Johnson smiled and said: "I have no comment about any of that."
Secretary Johnson sits at the top of the Department of Homeland Security. He is head of the third largest cabinet department.